South Central Workforce Development Board

Quarterly Newsletter

March 1, 2024 - Volume 2 - Issue 1


Growing our impact in reentry/justice-involved programs
LEARN & EARN – Virtual Reality Paid Work Experience Program

Inside This Issue

Check out our GREAT NEWS

Read more Customer Success Stories

Check out our Industry Partnership Spotlight

Learn more on South Central PA Labor Market Analysis and Research Corner PG. 

Upcoming Committee & Board Dates

Administration and Finance Committee Meeting

March 21, 2024, at 8:30 am

Executive Committee

March 28, 2024, at 8:30 am

Board of Directors

April 4, 2024, at 8:30 am

Youth / Program
Committee Meeting

April 30, 2024, at 8:30 am

All Committee Meetings are held at 4201 Crums Mill Road, Suite 100A, Harrisburg, PA 17112. The April 4, 2024, Board of Directors Meeting will be held at the Capital Region PA CareerLink®  – 100 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

SCPa Works Employee Anniversaries


Whitney Matthews, Compliance Officer – 2 YEARS



Katie Lentz, Chief Operating Officer –  7 YEARS

Stephanie Predko, Director of Programs –  4 YEARS

Nicola Overton, Program Officer –  2 YEARS



I am honored to have been appointed to serve on The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Economic and Community Advisory Council (ECAC). Established in 2008, the ECAC comprises a diverse array of leaders representing businesses, nonprofit organizations, philanthropic entities, academic institutions, the public sector, and organized labor. This council plays a pivotal role in advising the senior leadership of the Philadelphia Fed on emerging economic trends, community issues, and market conditions within the Third Federal Reserve District. Furthermore, the ECAC actively fosters inclusive regional economic development through collaborative partnerships with both private and public sector organizations.

Within this council, my work will primarily be assisting the Federal Reserve Bank in identifying and analyzing crucial economic and labor market dynamics across Pennsylvania. This entails a focus on key indicators such as labor force participation rates, employment figures, and the needs of the ALICE population (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). By closely monitoring and understanding these trends, I’ll aim to provide valuable insights that inform policy decisions and initiatives.

Moreover, our involvement with the Philadelphia Fed’s Economic and Community Advisory Council signifies a significant step forward in advocating for equitable economic growth and comprehensive labor market analysis. It is my commitment to bring viewpoints and perspectives from SCPa Works, our community partners, and the business community to the ECAC in an effort to highlight the strengths and opportunities for our region.

Jesse McCree, CEO


SCPa Works

Jobs for the Future and JPMorgan Chase Foundation Award SCPa Works $10,000

In 2023, JFF, with support from JPMorgan Chase Foundation, selected 20 state and local workforce development boards across the country to participate in an opportunity to make meaningful, lasting change in their communities by devising innovative solutions to challenges that impact regional economies. The workforce boards selected to take part in this experience are known as Workforce Communities of Action. They engaged in a strategically designed and facilitated process for collaboratively thinking about and solving problems through a variety of critical lenses. SCPa Works was fortunate to be one of 20 boards from across the nation to participate in this collective learning series. 
Upon completion of the program, JFF selected several of the participating boards to receive $10,000 to invest in activities, capacity building, and/or research that support their planned approach to addressing a regional workforce challenge. As an award recipient, SCPa Works will work collaboratively with JFF and a team of subject matter experts to design, plan, and/or secure additional resources for implementation of strategies that address a workforce challenge.
  • Collaboration will focus on ways to:
    • Build strategic partnerships necessary for human-centered design and delivery,
    • Support creation of quality jobs for those facing barriers to employment and training
    • Uphold diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility concepts and principles, and
    • Align activities with key regional workforce priorities.


We know that part of our role and impact in the community is significantly contributing to ensuring that our region is a place for all people to pursue opportunities for economic well-being. In the latest edition of our newsletter, we’re spotlighting our commitment to empowering justice-involved individuals through reentry programs, aiming to foster economic well-being and community integration.

SCPa Works is at the forefront of workforce boards across the country in this space. We emphasize a holistic approach to serving justice-involved individuals: providing vocational training, educational support, and mental health services tailored to this demographic’s unique needs.

Over the past few years, our focus on service justice-involved job seekers has yielded a number of grant programs that catalyze our work across the region. SCPa Works has successfully received a number of grants that are supporting this population, including the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Women’s Reentry program and a strategic investment grant used to partner with Envoy, a thought leader in the space of fair chance hiring.

How are we measuring success? As we’ve brought on program staff to help us think through and measure impact, we’ve outlined a number of key metrics to analyze, including employment outcomes, reduced recidivism rates, and qualitative program feedback from participants.

As a snapshot of some of our program success in this field, our RENEW Program (PCCD Women’s Reentry Program) of $100,000 has yielded these very promising results:

  • 52 enrollments (grant goal of 30)
  • No participant has reoffended
  • Supported 45 participants with supportive services of $20,000

Investing in holistic programs for justice-involved job seekers is not just about training. Incorporating supportive services such as mental health programs and financial literacy is essential for their successful reintegration into society. Success metrics, like employment outcomes and reduced recidivism, underscore our program’s impact, highlighted by the RENEW Program’s achievements.

As SCPa Works continues to emphasize holistic programs that support justice-involved individuals, I am incredibly proud of the work our team and partners have done to advance this work and become an example of how impactful workforce development boards can be in advancing economic mobility for all people across our region.

RENEW Program

York County Prison has been a great partner while working hard to implement cognitive behavioral intervention workshops for their female population, thanks to our grant through PCCD. These workshops aim to provide skills to assist these women in understanding what thoughts and behaviors lead to negative consequences and provide them with a new way of dealing with issues and relationships in everyday life.

The Facilitator engaged the women from York County Prison to participate in discussions and role-plays and continue practicing what they’d learned outside of class. They shared their life experiences and changes that they’ve seen in themselves throughout each session, noting that what they’ve learned has been helpful when dealing with risky thinking, behavior, and challenging people even while still incarcerated.

Some women have been released since the workshops ended and are still following up with their facilitator through the PA CareerLink®. These women are working through the challenges that come with being recently released. Between our services and our relationships with our community partners, we ensure they receive the holistic services they need to find stable, sustainable employment and succeed post-release.

SCPa Works Program and Strategy Staff Participate in Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab Results-Driven Contracting Sprint

Through an opportunity provided by The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, SCPa Works staff are participating with boards across the Commonwealth on an eight-week sprint focused on results-driven contracting. The GPL’s framework for procurement excellence focuses on the following:

  • Efficient and Fair-Transforms the procurement process to be efficient, inviting, and transparent
  • Results-Driven-Improves the outcomes of contracted programs, products, and services
  • Equitable- Invests in equity to improve economic mobility and achieve better outcomes for historically marginalized populations
  • Strategic- Elevates and resources procurement as a strategic function

Each participating board chooses a future RFP to utilize as their applied project for the sprint. SCPa Works is focusing on a future WIOA Out of School Youth RFP.

Employer Learning Series – Creating Recovery-Friendly Workplaces in York County, Pennsylvania

SCPa Works is seeking quotes from interested entities to collaborate on an Employer Learning Series focused on creating recovery-friendly workplaces in York County, PA. As a result of funding provided by the York County Opioid Advisory BoardSCPa Works, and the chosen entity will develop a variety of educational materials and engagement sessions with business partners in York County. The series will focus on:

  • Understanding Substance Abuse and Recovery
    • Overview of substance abuse issues
    • Understanding the recovery process
  • Creating a Supportive Workplace Culture
    • Fostering a stigma-free environment
    • Promoting empathy and understanding
  • Implementing Recovery-Friendly Policies
    • Developing and implementing policies that support recovery
    • Balancing workplace safety and inclusion
  • Providing Resources and Support
  • Identifying community resources
  • Offering support mechanisms for employees in recovery 
  • Interactive Workshops and Q&A Sessions
    • Conducting interactive workshops for employers
    • Facilitating Q&A sessions to address specific concerns


Equus Workforce Solutions has been working diligently with the OSY (Out-of-school youth) population to provide them with opportunities to engage in Paid Work Experiences (PWE).  This is an opportunity for youth to gain training and experience various high-demand fields through Virtual Reality (VR).

Here is how it works. Every week, the participant meets with an assigned Career Advisor at the PA CareerLink®. Oculus Headsets are available for participants to use and gain exposure to several career paths. The virtual PWE experience offers career pathways in various areas, such as Health sciences, manufacturing and construction, aviation maintenance, hospitality and tourism, and automotive technician. Upon completion, the participant receives a stipend for their training hours. Participants continue to meet with a Career Advisor to discuss their career goals and determine if any of the career pathways they experienced through VR are of interest to them.  A great opportunity for youth participants to learn about careers using technology that is exciting to them.


Equus Workforce Solutions

We want to send a great big shout-out to Equus Workforce Solutions for their hard work in engaging Out-of-school youth in the Virtual Paid Work Experience program!  Aaron Behrman and his staff have been working diligently to encourage OSY participants to learn more about this learn-and-earn opportunity. Since the start of this initiative, 4 participants have fully completed the program!

Harrisburg University

We would also like to congratulate Harrisburg University on the PWE opportunities provided to participants!  They have had several participants working with professors in their classrooms.  This has allowed the participants to get hands-on experience teaching and engaging with students to help them learn.  Professors have shared that being involved in this program has helped the participants and the Professors by allowing them to have more one-on-one time with the students in their classrooms.

Crispus Attucks

SCPa Works would like to welcome the newest Career Advisor to the Crispus Attucks family, Ms. Mylea Thompson. Her experience as a Work Ready Education Facilitator and her various mentoring roles will certainly be a great asset to their organization. In only a few weeks, Ms. Thompson has jumped in and is building rapport with the participants and engaging them in services.  We appreciate her hard work.

Adult Updates

Classroom Training Partnership Highlight – PA Petroleum – HVAC training

Numerous participants have begun training, and through PA Petroleum, participants can secure employment in their field of interest through their membership network of potential employers. Eligible participants interested in HVAC training and in need of assistance can receive scholarship funding from PA Petroleum.

Google Classroom for EARN Participants

Google Classroom is a set of online tools that allow EARN Program Facilitators to create lessons for participants. This opportunity allows easier access for staff to track program activity and participation hours.  EARN participants can watch videos, take quizzes, access program information, and more.

New Positions for EARN Program

Four New positions have been created to help facilitate EARN Program expectations. The positions include a Refugee Coordinator, Special Projects Manager, Intake Specialist, and Development Specialist.

Last year, SCPa Works was approved to allocate funding for active EARN participants to have Individual Training Accounts similar to the ITA’s within the WIOA program.  An active EARN participant could receive up to $7,000 towards a training program to obtain a certification.  All training must be completed through a provider on the ETPL list via CWDS.  The participant is expected to work with their career advisor to determine whether training is a good fit for the participant on their career path. With approval from the County Assistance Office, the participant can count their hours of attending training towards their participant hours in EARN.  A participant began training for a paralegal certification in January of this program. In February, another participant began an EMT certification training.

Community Access Point (CAP) Locations

Success Stories


Kim first came to the Employment Skills Center (ESC) in August 2023 to attend the Pre-Nurse Aide training and pursue a healthcare career. After completing the course, Kim returned to ESC to enroll in the November digital literacy class. Kim said, “My weakness is computers. When I saw this class, I was looking for help navigating basic computer courses.” When asked about her goals coming into the program, Kim shared that the class exceeded her needs. She said, “I can sit at a computer and no longer only know email. I learned security habits, spreadsheets in Excel, PowerPoint, and so much more.” When discussing how this program has impacted her life and career, Kim said, “Due to this course, I can now talk about how I have overcome that weakness. I can tell my employer the steps I have taken to improve.” Kim shared how much Maureen (instructor) made her learning experience very comfortable, allowing her to learn at her own pace. “This class truly helped my job advancement and taught me that I can learn a new skill. This class empowered me.”



Eric came to the PA CareerLink® through the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) Program and a reverse referral through PA Petroleum. Eric diligently completed every step necessary to obtain his goal of attending HVAC training. Eric completed every step without pause. Because of his diligence, Eric was able to start a training class with PA Petroleum on July 10th. Throughout his 10-week training, Eric earned extremely high praise from PA Petroleum instructors and staff, noting his dedication, punctuality, and professional approach. This approach not only earned him praise, but multiple job opportunities. Eric had no less than five interviews, with several job offers. Ultimately, Eric accepted a job with HB Home Services.  Eric is a testament to what can happen with determination and resiliency and has become an excellent example to those around him. His Career Advisor, Patrick Wade, Program Manager Leanne Demboski, and Program Director Holly Simmons attended his graduation and job signing ceremony on Sep. 15th at PA Petroleum to help celebrate Eric’s profound achievement.


PA CareerLink® participant Braydon completed a Paid Work Experience at Love Two Farm, Inc. in the fall of 2023. Through the money he earned in this Paid Work Experience, he was able to purchase a tractor. Love Two Farm, Inc. gave Braydon a space on their property to set up shop and start a tractor repair business. The employer was also able to connect Braydon with his accountant to learn financial literacy as well as the additional steps necessary to start a business. Special thanks to Jacob Conklin, PA CareerLink® Business Services Consultant for Juniata and Perry County, for your role in connecting Braydon to this opportunity!


PA CareerLink® Business Services Consultant Nathan Trindel has worked with his participant, Marc, since September 2023. Originally, Marc was interested in pursuing welding training, but due to life circumstances, he needed to secure employment as soon as possible and was no longer able to pursue welding training at the time. Nathan provided Marc with information on an upcoming job fair hosted by JLG, a day after learning of Marc’s desire to secure immediate employment. Marc attended the event, and with Nathan’s continuous follow-up with JLG on Marc’s application. Marc began work on December 18, 2023, making $18.50 an hour!


Charlene has been a participant in the Employment, Advancement, and Retention Network (EARN) Program since October 2, 2023. While attending orientation, Charlene told the EARN instructor that her passion was helping people. Since then, she has been in the forefront of participation, making sure she followed the advice of her Career Advisor and took advantage of all opportunities provided for her to maintain her weekly required hours. EARN staff noticed her passion and drive for working with people and asked if she was interested in working in the EARN office under a community service plan. She took the opportunity and began learning behind the scenes the responsibilities of being a Career Advisor and what we do to help our participants reach their goals of success. In volunteering, she had expressed interest in the job responsibilities as she learned in more detail about EARN’s day-to-day function program. She assisted with printing and filing while also learning timesheets and translating for other participants. Charlene’s help was so appreciated that when the position of Career Advisor at the Dauphin County Office became available, the EARN team did not hesitate to encourage her to apply. Charlene was offered the role of an EARN Career Advisor. Charlene began her employment as a Career Advisor on December 19, 2023.  Charlene has excelled in her new position, and we are proud to have her be a part of our team. This participant has been nominated for the 2024 Governor’s Achievement Award.


The Apprenticeship Navigators are planning an Information Session for employers interested in establishing a Registered Apprenticeship Program.  The session will be held in April at the Capitol Region PA CareerLink®.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Cynthia Picht

Industry Partnership Spotlight

Industry partnerships provide a platform for employers to collectively address workforce challenges, skills gaps, and talent shortages.  Through this model, SCPa Works works with companies to identify common training needs, develop industry-specific skills programs, and support workforce development initiatives to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce for our region.  Here are some exciting training programs we are working on right now through our Industry Partnerships:

SCPa Works and the PA CareerLink® are teaming up to meet with our agriculture community in Juniata and Perry Counties.  Please join us for a brief introduction and conversation on how we can support your business.

Contact Cynthia Picht at

The Construction Industry Partnership kicked off an Employer Fair Chance Learning Series on February 13th.  This series is designed for groups of 8-12 employers to collaboratively expand and improve fair chance hiring practices while building their network of local partners to proactively recruit candidates with past convictions. 

AI Tools for DEI in the Workplace is a three-part Employer Learning Series led by Kimeka Campbell, Ph.D., Consultant, Activist, and Talk Show Host, and Charles Palmer, Associate Professor and Program Chair of Interactive Media, Executive Director, Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies, Harrisburg University.  The first session covered myths about AI, AI Generative tools through an AI and DEI lens, how AI is allowed in the workplace, and a session on how to use these tools.  If you are interested in future sessions, please contact Debbie Kaufman at for more information or visit our website at

On March 20th, the Manufacturing Industry Partnership is hosting a Cultural Diversity Training for employers at the Manufacturers’ Association Training Center in York, PA.  The training is provided by Workplace Talent Solutions and will equip your management team with the skills to communicate more effectively with employees from different cultural and language backgrounds.  Topics covered:

  • Discuss high-context and low-context cultures and how they impact the workforce
  • Explore the difference between culture and race
  • Share strategies on how to respond to cultural differences
  • Discuss ways to improve communication with those who have limited English language proficiency

There is no cost for Manufacturing Industry Partnership members!  To register or learn more about the course:

Cultural Diversity

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Industry Partner Group, please email

Economy Overview

  • Regional Employment is 729,207, an approximate increase of 5,000 over the last quarter
  • As of September 2023, the Regional Labor Force Participation Rate is 63.73%, a slight decrease from the 64.69% rate last quarter
  • The Region’s Unemployment Rate is 3.0%, below the State’s Unemployment Rate of 3.5%
  • Our Region outweighs the national average in Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics occupations by approximately 35%
  • Our Region outweighs the national average in Production occupations by approximately 26%

Job Posting Analytics

  • A total of 3,594 employers have posted 27,005 jobs with an average wage of $58,200
  • 25% of job postings over 90 days are requiring no more than a High School Diploma/GED
  • 24% of job postings over the past 90 days require a Bachelor’s degree 
  • 34% of job postings over the past 90 days require no more than three years experience 
  • Registered Nurses remain the #1 occupation in demand, outweighing the majority of occupations in our Region 5:1

Contact Us

Auxiliary aides and services are available to individuals with disabilities. Equal Opportunity Employer/Program